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Chain Gang: Giro di San Francisco Races Through the City on Labor Day

Photo via nicocrisafulli on Flickr.com

Welcome to Chain Gang, our new weekly bike blog– your guide to Bay Area bike culture and happenings, and news.

It’s almost Labor Day, a time for beer, barbeque, and in San Francisco—bikes. Or rather epic bike races. This Monday is the 37th annual Giro di San Francisco, a full day of racing that attracts more than 800 riders of all levels, from Cat 4 amateurs to top-tier pros. Greg LeMond won the race in the late 1970s/ early ‘80s, when it was known as the San Francisco Grand Prix, and you’re still guaranteed to see some top notch riders today.

Unlike many other races, which are a point A to Point B course, the Metromint Giro di San Francisco is a criterium, or series of laps, which means you will have plenty of opportunity to watch the peloton as it races ¾ mile loops around Levi’s Plaza.

The races start at Battery and Union Streets, but with such a tight course, there’s no bad spot for viewing. Though short laps, the Giro di SF is a challenging course, filled with tight turns and sketchy railroad crossings. In other words, classic San Francisco riding—just a lot faster.

While it’s too late to register for the race (except if you’re under 14), it’s not too late to plan the Giro into your list of Labor Day activities. The races start at 8 am with the Women’s Cat 4 and end with the pros at 3 pm. See the complete schedule below.

So grab your folding chair, a couple of friends, and secure your piece of sidewalk early. With a sunny and warm forecast, watching the Giro is the perfect way to spend your day off. Plus, the races will be over in time to still have that traditional Labor Day barbecue.

The Races

  • 8:00 - Women 4
  • 8:40 - M35+ 4
  • 9:30 - Women 3
  • 10:20 - Cat 4/5
  • 11:10 - M45+ 1/2/3
  • 11:50 - M35+ 1/2/3
  • 12:40 - SF Kids' Races (can register day of)
  • 1:10 - Women 1/2/3
  • 2:10 - Cat 3
  • 3:00 - Pro/1/2

Kristin Smith started riding bikes at 3-years-old and hasn't stopped since then. A long time rider, racer and commuter, Kristin has spent the last five years writing about San Francisco's active bike culture. She is the newly appointed Communications Director for the SF Bicycle Coalition.